Sunday, March 18, 2018

Year 8, Day 77: 1 Corinthians 8 & 9

Theological Commentary: Click Here

In these chapters, we hear Paul talk about differences in the faith.  When we speak about things like marriage – or for the Jews, kosher regulations – things get dicey.  Some people think one things while another people think another.  All sides typically think that they have great reasons for believing as they do.  What are we to do?

It is in times like this that I like to remember the motto of the Moravian Church.  “In essentials, unity.  In non-essentials, liberty.  In all things, love.”  In other words, when consider things essential to salvation, we must be united.  When considering things non-essential to salvation, we grant liberty.  Whatever we do, we should do it in love.

I find this to be greatly in line with what Paul is teaching here.  To use the examples that he uses, when considering marriage we should not think marriage as something that affects salvation.  God can and will save those who marry.  He can and will save those who abstain from marriage.

The same is true about what we eat.  God can save us if we are vegan, vegetarian, only eat some meat, eat all meat, and even if we eat meat that has been offered to other gods!  God can also save us if we don’t do any of those things.  What is what we eat in comparison to the redemptive love of God as shown to use through Christ?

In the end, what is significant is that we are loved by God and salvation comes through Him.  He can save us and He will save us so long as we love Him.  We should not let our differences in non-essentials interfere with the unity that we have through Christ and His salvation.

That being said, we should also be careful not to offend intentionally.  If I do something that in my understanding of God’s love makes sense to me and I interact with someone who believes differently than I do, I should be willing to stop my behavior to keep them from being offended until I am no longer in their presence.  If it is not essential to salvation, I can suppress it without being offended myself.

When I look at the world around me, I think that this is the biggest teaching for our current culture.  Our culture is all about the individual and the desires of the individual.  That’s all well and good when our desires don’t impact others negatively.  But when our desires impact others negatively, I should withhold my desires and not superimpose a worse life on others so that my desires are met.  When a culture imposes the will of the individual over the good of the community, breakdown of the community is inevitable.  Conflict will naturally arise.